By this time next week, Ed Encina and I will be knee-deep in Winter Meetings muck, trying to decipher what’s actually going on in the lobbies, bars and meeting rooms in Nashville.
So I figured I’d open up the bar today and crank up the hot stove.
As our columnist Peter Schmuck wrote Sunday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette dangles one of the club’s young starters in an attempt to land a position player with upside – someone who can play left field, first base or DH.
Given what the Orioles have, and the hype that has surrounded them, you’d think Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman all maintain some value on the open market. They are all making around the league minimum (though Matusz is eligible for arbitration this year as a Super Two) and will be under club control for several years.
All were once highly coveted by other teams – and surely there is a team out there that still covets each one individually.
The interesting thing is figuring out which one is most expendable. It’s an interesting dilemma. Tillman had the best 2012, Arrieta probably has the best stuff, Britton, as a sinkerballing lefty, may have the highest ceiling and Matusz has the most big league experience and has shown he can relieve if starting doesn’t work out.
None is a slam dunk to be a productive major league starter; but each one could be.
Here’s what I want to know at the bar today: If you are faced with a trade you like – say for Kansas City’s Billy Butler – and you could choose which one of the above four you would part with, who would it be? (Yes, it would take more than one of these guys to get Butler, but we can assume one would be the centerpiece).
We’ve had this discussion internally, and, frankly, there’s no right answer. Not yet anyway. It may take years to know which one should have been dealt.
So I want to know what you think. Maybe you’d pass on trading any of them and take your chances with the lineup the Orioles currently have.
Daily Think Special: If you had to trade one of the previously hyped cavalry (Arrieta, Britton, Matusz, Tillman), which would it be?